Want to make a difference in your bottom line? Don’t assume brisk holiday business requires overtime.
“Too many florists immediately turn to overtime to make it through the holiday rush,” financial expert Paul Goodman, AAF, MBA, PFCI, of Floral Finance Business Services in Tulsa, Oklahoma, says in the “Ask the Accountant” column of the November/December issue of Floral Management. “Expensive? Of course, especially because wages have increased the past few years.”
There is a better way to handle additional staffing needs, Goodman says.
The best way to determine staffing levels is to forecast sales for each day in the four weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and establish productivity standards for designers. In his column, Goodman provides a step-by-step formula for forecasting sales. (The Society of American Florists’ also has a three-part series of courses, “Forecasting Your Future,” on this subject.)
The forecast will give you an idea of how much volume to expect day-to-day in those four weeks. Next, determine the productivity of each designer. Keep in mind, Goodman advises, that design room strategies, such as creating arrangements in an assembly line, will increase productivity. (Check out the column for Goodman’s formula.)
The most costly mistake florists make when staffing for holidays is paying overtime, Goodman warns. In addition to determining staffing levels, he suggest building a cadre of part-time workers who agree to increase their hours during the busy seasons, or, looking for seasonal part-timers who can come in at regular, non-overtime rates.
That’s a strategy that SAF President-elect Lori Wheat, AAF, uses for floral holidays. The co-owner of Lafayette Florist, Gift Shop & Garden Center in Lafayette, Colorado, relies on her current staff and past employees for part-time worker recommendations.
“Sons, daughters, spouses, and partners — they are the best by far,” says Wheat. “They’re already familiar with the business and our customers, and they’re more likely to be reliable and trustworthy.”
To sweeten the deal for her seasonal workers, Wheat offers a number of perks, including reimbursement for use of vehicle and fuel, an hourly wage, a complimentary box lunch from local food trucks, and a 40% off product voucher.
“We want to make sure that our seasonal workers are well compensated and that they have a fun and positive experience,” says Wheat. “After all, they’re playing a vital role in helping us to meet the needs of our customers during the busiest times of the year.”
For more on seasonal staffing, read Goodman’s column, “Gift Yourself Holiday Labor Savings” and the Team Builder column, “Lighten the Holiday Load,” in the November/December issue of Floral Management.
Amanda Jedlinsky is the managing editor of SAF NOW.